I've known Denny and Rose Brouse for a good long time, since 1995 when we were all members of the Prodigy community. We literally ushered in the internet, chat and instant messaging and had a real good time doing it through the magic of Disney. Starting on the Hobbies bulletin board, we lobbied for a Disney Fans board and got it, which resulted in skyrocketing attendance for Prodigy. I later became a special contributor and, finally, a full-fledged board leader and content provider for Prodigy Services, making $2000 a month at one point when the web was still new.
The Brouses live in Gilford Township in Ohio, somewhere between Medina and Seville. I got to know them pretty well back in the days, pre-internet, and over the years, we've gotten to know each other real well. Early on, I'd head up to visit them and they had a standing engagement to come down and visit Walt Disney World each year. We've had some very good times, both in Ohio and in Florida! Denny was with me for some legs of the Coast-2-Coast Coaster Tour, which has been copied by everyone from Jefferson Graham at USA Today to the Discovery Channel.
In between Yellowbanks Dulcimer Festival and Gebhard Woods, I've been hanging out with the Brouses here - and we went up to Cedar Point, a theme park that has 17 COASTERS! I love this place and it's been since 2000 that I've visited; Denny and were there for the opening of Millennium Force in 2000 and 1996 for the opening of Mantis. They've got some new rollercoasters there this year, Top Thrill Dragster and Maverick, so there was some catching up to do. Had a great time riding and walking around - then got out to the van afterwards and, nothing, dead, battery or alternator. After being assisted by the helpful Cedar Point parking control, we were shuttled by Triple A to the Quality Inn on the causeway, where there just happened to be a restaurant, water park and bowling alley (!). It was an unplanned stop, but we made the most of it. It could've been a lot worse.
Rose came up and got me and Blake, Denny hung around and waited for the van to be fixed. We reconvened in the evening together and had a good laugh about it all. They are some of my dearest friends - and what a joy to spend time with them!
Got back today and began preparations for Gephard Woods, which I'm looking forward to. I've got to say that the prevailing conversations on the road have been about the gas crunch and how tough life is becoming, it's hard not to think about these changes that we're going through. At the same time, I'm continuously stoking a fire under myself to bring the positive to the surface. We need to believe and hope in order to move forward - and I hope we can continue to band together and do that. Life can be fun - life can be rough - and life is what we make of it, which means there is a lot more control in our hands than we realize.
Reason number four that I love my lovely wife - she is right dead sexy. I won't go into details here, but the woman is a spitfire and you can just call me a happy man where that is concerned. Whoo! Okay, enough of that - she's far away and that just ain't fair.
Hitting the road in the morning - what a beautiful time spent with The Brouse Family - and hopefully it won't be too long before we do it all again, north or south.
Hope you all are having a great week - aloha! There are new pictures in the gallery.